The islands of Japan stretch along the northwest side of Pacific, where few surfers still visit these interesting coasts. The cost factor, together with the heavy crowds, intense industrialization, a completely alien culture and fickle waves are enough to discourage most surfers from traveling to these locations. For those with enough cash to spend, surfing in Japan can be rewarding. Among the best places in the country to go there is Shikoku, the fourth largest island in Japan. Shikoku is made up of 4 provinces and it is typically Japanese; Water gardens filled with temples, traditional fishing ports and crystal clear rivers flow through the countryside.
The exposed SE coastline runs through Kochi and Tokushima provinces, where abundant rainfall feeds the numerous rivers. When these rivers pour into the sea, they help the typhoon to form discrete sandbars that generate good quality right waves in many breaks at the rivermouth. Kaifu , in Tokushima, is probably the place with the best quality waves. It is approximately 45min from Cape Muroto and it is in the heart of the scenic Ana National Coastal Park. When it lights up, it gives away powerful right pipes both in the rivermouth and in the nearby beach. Crowds are guaranteed, especially on Saturdays. This spot holds decent swell sizes and it has been ridden over 10-13ft. South of Kaifu, in Shishikui, there is a beachbreak which is a real swell magnet. Ikumihama Beach is very popular with surfers from Osaka, who use the night ferry from Nanko to surf these quiet waves. When a swell arrives from the south, Osaka will have constant waves that will break on the sand. In the west side of Capu Muroto, there are quality spots but they need perfect conditions to produce great waves. As well as Monabe, Niyodo is a first class left and right spot while Luck will be just as good in conditions with big SE-S swells accompanied by NE winds. North of Kaifu there are smaller waves such as at Uchizuma Beach. It is perhaps worth hiring a boat as it is rumored that an excellent right will break in Teba.
Tariff per person, starting from:
|From 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020||€ 284|
Like many places on the east coast, exposure to swells isn’t perfect. Unlike in the Chiba area (on the north), swells come from typhoons, which have an oscillation of 20 swells per season (from July to November). Storms are unpredictable and they can last from hours to many days depending on the route and the speed of the typhoon. Expect SE swells of 2-4ft which usually last for 2-3 days. The possibility of finding flat days is very high as during the bad season, it is very easy to find very windy waves measuring no more than 1-2ft. Winds blow from the north in winter and bring dry conditions, cold and offshore winds. In summer the winds move towards the southeast and they bring heavy rains. It is rare to have very strong wind conditions, except when a low pressure system or a typhoon reaches the ground. The variation of the tides doesn’t exceed 6ft.
How to get there : The fastest (but not the cheapest) way is to fly to Osaka and then take the ferry from Nanko to Kannoura, with an uncomfortable 7-hour journey. The national line is JAL.
Getting around : Trains run along the coast but they are often full. Renting a car costs around $ 250 per week and gasoline around $ 1.20 per liter. If you can’t read Japanese, driving will be a nightmare. Usually you have to pay to park on the beach.
Housing and Food : Japan is the most expensive destination in the world. If money is a problem, stay out of Osaka and the big cities. Youth hostels are the cheapest accommodations, but nevertheless they always charge $ 30 per night for a bed in a dorm. The Minshukus are family guesthouses, and these are a great option, even if their price is around $ 50 per double. Local food is delicious and very healthy, sushi and rice will cost around $ 8- $ 10 per meal.
Climate : Shikoku has an extreme climate (not comparable to that of the most northern area in Chiba), with cold continental winters and hot, humid summers. Spring and summer on the south coast are very rainy seasons, while autumn, when the first swells arrive, is usually characterized by days that are much drier. The water never reaches very low temperatures; in winter a 3mm long wetsuit will be enough. Keep in mind that southern Japan could be hit by typhoons.
Nature and Culture : The Seto-Ohashi Bridge, outside Osaka, offers spectacular views. There is a nearby road used by Buddhist pilgrims along which there are 88 temples. Don’t miss The Yosakoi Festival in Kochi in mid-August.
Dangers and annoyances : The seismic activity here is the highest in the world but this is not a source of great problems for the locals. Bigger typhoon swells could get very scary. Local surfers are very friendly to foreigners (Gaijin) but nevertheless, try to avoid the most popular spots and ridiculous Saturday crowds.
Tips : The surf-related industry is expanding in this area and there are many surf shops and shapers. In any case, the equipment is very expensive – a new board costs around $ 1200. Credit cards are not always accepted, therefore, bring some cash.
Exchange rate 1 EUR = 1.08 USD
Exchange rate variations (more than 3%) will lead to an adjustment of costs. They will be communicated within 20 days of departure.
The tariff does not include